Yes! “Ancient” crocodiles did eat plants! How do we know this?
Well, scientists conducted a detailed analysis of 146 tooth fossils from sixteen crocodyliforms (“members of the crocodile and alligator family”) and determined that between three and six were herbivores—but that’s not how we know for sure.
More on that in a moment. First, I want to highlight a quote from the study author:
The most interesting thing we discovered was how frequently it seems extinct crocodyliforms ate plants . . . Our study indicates that complexly-shaped teeth, which we infer to indicate herbivory, appear in the extinct relatives of crocodiles at least three times and maybe as many as six.
So, herbivory is common among the extinct members of a “kind” that we associate with carnivory today! Interesting! Why is that?
Well, as I tell children during my kids’ presentations, the Bible is the history book of the universe. It’s the eyewitness account of the history of life and the universe from the only One who was there (Genesis 1:1), who never lies (Titus 1:2), and who never makes a mistake (Proverbs 30:5). And he has told us in Genesis 1:30:
And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. And it was so.
Originally (i.e., before the fall), all the animal kinds—including the “crocodyliforms” (three different kinds: the gharial kind, the alligator/caiman kind, and the crocodile kind)—were vegetarian, eating the “green plants” God had given them for food.
Originally (i.e., before the fall of Genesis 3), all the animal kinds—including the “crocodyliforms” (three different kinds: the gharial kind, the alligator/caiman kind, and the crocodile kind)—were vegetarian, eating the “green plants” God had given them for food. It wasn’t until after sin, when creation was no longer “very good” (Genesis 1:31) and death entered, that creatures became carnivorous. Of course, that means these crocodyliforms aren’t 200 million years old, as the article claims—they lived just a few thousand years ago.
Therefore we’re not surprised that within the alligator and crocodile kinds there’s evidence of past herbivory (and tooth shape varies within kinds due to created genetic diversity). All of these creatures were originally vegetarian, but some became carnivores after Adam’s sin. And those are the varieties that survived after the flood into the present.
Oh, and as I teach children: “Just because an animal has sharp teeth doesn’t mean it’s a meat eater—it just means it has sharp teeth!”
This item was discussed today on Answers News with cohosts Dr. Jennifer Rivera, Dr. Gabriela Haynes, and Dr. Georgia Purdom. Answers News is our twice-weekly news program filmed here at the Creation Museum and broadcast on my Facebook page and the Answers in Genesis Facebook page. We also covered the following intriguing topics:
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This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.
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